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Singapore charges Citadelle director with falsifying letters related to Wirecard

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore has charged a director of Citadelle Corporate Services Pte Ltd for falsifying letters related to Wirecard, the collapsed German payments firm.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Wirecard AG, an independent provider of outsourcing and white label solutions for electronic payment transactions, is pictured at its headquarters in Aschheim, near Munich, Germany, July 1, 2020. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

R Shanmugaratnam was charged with “wilfully and with intent to defraud” falsifying letters from Citadelle to Wirecard representing that it held money in escrow accounts, though the accounts did not hold such balances, according to charge sheets filed by Singapore authorities on July 3.

Shanmugaratnam had fraudulently said in March 2016 that 47 million euros, 66.4 million euros and 30 million euros were held by Citadelle in escrow accounts as of Dec. 31, 2015, according to three charge sheets.

He also falsely said in March 2017 that there was a balance of 177.5 million euros in an escrow account on Dec. 31, 2016, according to the fourth charge sheet.

Citadelle, a business administration company, is at the heart of an investigation in the Philippines that exposed fraudulent activity at Wirecard.

Reuters was not immediately able to reach Shanmugaratnam, a 54-year-old Singapore citizen, for comment.

Munich-based Wirecard collapsed in June after its auditor EY refused to sign off on its 2019 accounts because it could not verify 1.9 billion euros supposedly held abroad in escrow by third-party partners.

Wirecard had initially claimed that a missing $2.1 billion had been kept in two Philippine banks, which the banks said was not true.

A Filipino lawyer embroiled in the fraud told Reuters he was framed and that he opened six euro bank accounts in the name of his law firm on behalf of Citadelle.

Authorities in the Philippines said on Thursday that they were seeking to confirm the death of a former Wirecard executive Christopher Bauer, one of several people being investigated over fraud at the firm.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and John Geddie in Singapore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman & Simon Cameron-Moore

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